Count John Tierney among those who believe Scott Brown is on the wrong side of the birth-control debate.
The junior Massachusetts senator voted for a measure proposed by Republican colleague Roy Blunt of Missouri (and rejected by the Senate yesterday) that would have allowed employers to eliminate coverage for contraceptives from their health plans on religious or moral grounds. (Presidential candidate Mitt Romney came down on both sides of the issue in separate interviews this week before stating, sort of unequivocally, he supported the Blunt Amendment.)
So when Brown unsurprisingly announced his support for the North Shore congressman's Republican opponent, Richard Tisei, Tierney's press office pounced with a statement declaring its dismay with "the extremist Republican agenda to restrict women's access to birth control and contraception."
Tisei, according to Tierney spokesperson Kathryn Prael, "is just another foot soldier of the far right wing of the Republican Party."
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This week's decision by Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe not to seek re-election represents a loss for the Republican Party on a couple of fronts. Many consider it likely the seat will now fall into Democratic hands; and Snowe, like fellow Maine Republican Susan Collins and the Bay State's Brown, is one of the relatively few moderates in the party's Senate ranks capable of working across the aisle on important issues.
In an interview with MSNBC Wednesday, Snowe decried the "atmosphere of polarization and 'my way or the highway' ideologies (that have) become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions."
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There was plenty of praise handed out Tuesday at the dedication of the new J. Michael Ruane Judicial Center in Salem.
Robert Mulligan, chief administrative justice for the trial courts, recalled Ruane's great passion for his city and recalled how the veteran legislator and baseball fanatic used to admonish his colleagues to "keep the children in sports and out of the courts."
Robert Cordy, associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, expressed special thanks to Senate Majority Leader Fred Berry for his efforts to keep the court project — described as a very difficult one, given its size and the confines of the Federal Street site — moving forward.
And state Rep. John Keenan, D-Salem, even had a kind word for Republican Romney who, he said, was one of several governors who provided critical support for the project.
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In a nice gesture, Tierney recently visited the South Peabody home of Edward "Buddy" Wodarski to replace medals, including a Bronze Star, lost in a recent burglary.
"I am privileged to have the opportunity to thank him for his service to our country," Tierney declared.
A Salem native, Wodarski was surrounded by family during the surprise presentation arranged by son Chris.
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Datebook: Governor's Council candidate Eileen Duff of Gloucester will speak at the next meeting of the Beverly Democratic City Committee, Tuesday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the Beverly Public Library. ... Rick Bettencourt will kick off his campaign for selectman in Danvers with an event on Wednesday, March 15, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Polish Club. ... Rep. Keenan will hold his annual St. Patrick's Day breakfast Friday, March 16, at 7:30 a.m. at Finz on Pickering Wharf. Tickets are $50 to $150 ... 2nd Essex state Senate candidate Mary Ellen Manning will hold a St. Patrick's Day pancake breakfast on Saturday, March 17, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Onion Town Grill, 175 Water St., Danvers. ... District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett will hold a comedy-night fundraiser on Thursday, March 22, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Danversport Yacht Club. Tickets are $50.